Coffee Station Ideas for the Luxury Kitchen
Given the role that espresso is playing in our modern lives right now, it is no wonder that a lot of people are searching for clever design ideas to create a luxury coffee station in the sanctuary of their own home. In fact, if we're honest, the coffee maker may just be more important to a lot of people than a cooking range. It is certainly the most consistently used appliance in the average kitchen. As a kitchen designer, creating an accessible and well thought-out coffee bar is one of the most practical things that I can do for my clients. There are, of course, all sorts of ways to approach this - your personal habits and preferences will indicate which road you should take. At one end of the spectrum is the hidden nook, tucked neatly away behind cabinet doors or automated panels. At the other end is a philosophy of investing in beautiful equipment that you don't mind looking at throughout the day. In today's post, however, I'm focusing on clever and well-designed ways to conceal your coffee maker (as well as other small appliances) in your new, or future kitchen.
Wide Cabinet(s) with Bi-Fold Doors
Source: Humphrey Munson
If you've got the space to accommodate a wide cabinet, such as the one above, then you can really have your cake and eat it too. Actually, you could even make that cake right inside this generous cabinet with all of that lovely counter space to work! A nicely trimmed out microwave works great in a space like this if you don't find yourself using it too frequently. This concept offers loads of space for all of those breakfast appliances, such as a coffee maker, a toaster, a blender, etc. Plus shelves to organize all of your cups and accouterments. The bi-fold doors are an amazing option because they operate effortlessly and give you the maximum amount of space within the cabinet. Just make sure that your cabinet manufacturer is of the highest quality or you'll end up with doors that sag and/or warp over time. It also goes without saying that outlets are an absolute necessity for any appliance cabinet and it pays to plan out what you will store in each cabinet and on each shelf so you can have outlets located at just the right location ahead of time.
Source: Heather Hungeling Design
Pocket doors are a lovely way to tuck the cabinet doors out of the way while you putter around the kitchen in the morning. You do have to give the doors a decent little pull forward on their tracks to close them up when you are done, but they are worth the effort because no other solution will stow the doors away as nicely. Again, a good quality manufacturer is required for this in order to ensure the doors glide as smoothly as possible.
Helpful tip...Pocket door hardware, as well as the interior gables, can take up quite a bit of room inside the cabinet (often 4-6" on each side). So make sure that your overall cabinet size is generous or you'll end up with a space that is too tight to be useful.
Built-in and Concealed
Source: In Detail Interiors
While a larger space may be a luxury, this little cabinet does the coffee station job just fine. With a slide-out shelf, pocket doors, and a water dispenser, this cabinet offers great functionality and is small enough to be worked into almost any size kitchen.
Helpful tip...If your cabinet will be narrow, add a pull-out shelf for your coffee maker to sit on so that you can add water to the back of the machine easily.
This is really just a variation on concealing a coffee maker behind pocket doors, but I wanted to highlight it because I think the aesthetics are finely done. If you're someone who may, uhm...leave the doors open all day, then this is the way to go. Not only is the built-in Miele coffee maker beautiful, but the interior of the cabinet looks just as good as the exterior. Even if you only leave the doors open for a few hours in the morning, it is well worth considering selecting some pretty finish details for the interior. Refrigerator drawers (for cream) at the bottom of this cabinet would make this absolutely perfect.
Helpful tip...For a pocket door cabinet, consider having the inside of the unit finished to match the exterior. This way it will look polished even if it is left open all day.
Adjacent Pantry or Butler's Pantry
Source: Heather Hungeling Design
If you don't have space in your kitchen for the coffee maker and small appliances, consider sectioning off part of your walk-in pantry or butler's pantry to create an adjacent work area. In the kitchen that I designed above, I did just that. The client had an overly large pantry that was supposed to be directly off the kitchen. I re-worked the floor plan to create a dedicated room, where she had lots of counter space to set out her small appliances. It was so close to the kitchen that it was mere steps away from the sink, but it kept the counter clutter out of the main kitchen area (read more about this kitchen and see the floor plan here).
Source: Keystone Millworks via DecorPad
If you have a lot of small appliances or ones that you rarely use, then storing them in a tall pantry cabinet may be the best route for you. I included the image above because I thought it was quite clever how the designer used a void in the wall to make a pantry cabinet just deep enough to step into. The designer increased the storage potential for this cabinet considerably by doing so. I also included this because it reminded me of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe...only in this version, Narnia is more like a stroll through Williams Sonoma.
Roll-Up Door in the Corner
I usually wrinkle my nose when I hear someone mention a roll-up appliance garage, but this one is quite nice and suits the style of cabinetry well. It makes great use of an otherwise awkward corner and holds quite a few of the most frequently used small appliances. The cabinet sits flush on the counter which allows the homeowner to slide the coffee maker forward without having to pull it off a ledge (this is also nice when you spill water and coffee grounds because it makes clean-up easy).
Helpful tip...Have your coffee station cabinet rest on your regular countertop to make clean-up a breeze.
Sliding Backsplash Nook
Source: Mick de Giulio via Quintessence
In order to make this one work, you've got to have some sort of void or thick wall space behind your countertop or you'll need to create a void by furring out your wall. However, if you've got the space, this is really pretty clever...particularly if you can do it in your primary work zone. Then there's no need to walk over to a special place in your kitchen to access those small appliances. Need your stand mixer? Just slide that backsplash panel open and pull your appliance forward a bit. I've been really enamored with this idea since I first saw this really cool kitchen by Mick de Giulio a few years ago. I recently tried to implement this idea for a client's coffee bar area because we had a large void inside the wall that I could use to our advantage. I planned to improve on Mick's idea by placing the coffee maker on a pull out platform so that it could be easily slid forward in the morning and pushed back into the cavity when they were done with the coffee. This particular client, however, felt like they were very "low effort" when it came to putting the coffee maker away. They didn't even feel like they would go to the trouble of closing pocket doors if we put it inside of a regular cabinet. Consequently, we ended up just positioning the coffee maker on the counter without any concealment. So I'm saving this little idea gem for another time.
Automated Appliance Lift
This one's definitely for the technology enthusiast out there. If this appeals to you at all, the above video by Nexus 21 is worth watching. This company uses a TV lift mechanism for some clever applications in the kitchen. The biggest point to consider, in my opinion, is that where ever you put this, you will need to have an obvious seam/cutout in your counter material. Still, with some thoughtful planning, this could be really fun. There are a lot of other possibilities for this concept - I can see something like this in a large wet bar area as well.
Base Cabinet Coffee Maker
Source: TopBrewer Coffee Maker
Finally, if your budget is generous, then look no further than the TopBrewer coffee maker. For around $11,000, you get a grinder, espresso machine, carbon canister, and refrigeration device that all sits in a base cabinet. An elegant faucet style dispenser is all that is visible on your counter. The whole unit is controlled by an app on your phone or tablet and can whip up a variety of coffee house style beverages at the push of a button. You only need to load fresh coffee beans and milk to the base unit in the morning and then it's ready to go in 45 seconds. While this may cost more than most people spend on their range or refrigerator, you can join me in my quest to prove that I can get all of my nutrients from coffee, thank you very much.